South Africa has reportedly announced its first case of the novel coronavirus. The patient is a 38-year-old man who had recently travelled to Italy with his wife. The identity of the couple has not been made public by the Health authorities, as per the reports.
The South African couple, who are from KwaZulu-Natal, reportedly returned in the country on March 1. The man showed flu-like symptoms and was caught with the ailment when he consulted a medic on March 3. He complained of headache, fever, and cough and was diagnosed with COVID-19 the very same day. He has been placed under the self-quarantine by the health officials since then, the ministry reportedly confirmed. It said that the medical professional who was exposed to the patient also had to be isolated to curb the further spread of the contagion.
The ministry further revealed that the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) was tracing anyone who came in contact with either the medical professional or the patient. He said that a dedicated team was deployed in the entire province for the search operation to quarantine and test the presumptive cases. An epidemiologist and NCID clinicians are included among the contacts of the patient.
South Africa will be dispatching a chartered aircraft to evacuate at least 100 citizens from the Hubei province in China, where the cases have surpassed 98,000 and at least 3,000 fatalities have been reported so far. The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) of South Africa in charge of facilitating the repatriation of South African citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan said in a report that it had secured an aircraft for the evacuation.
An interdisciplinary team of relevant departments including health, home affairs, social development, and the defense will form part of the repatriation team which will be flown to China from South Africa, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement.